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Natalie Sedacca

Natalie Sedacca | Senior Associate

nsedacca@hja.net 020 7874 8492

My main area of practice is in claims against the police and other public authorities, including civil actions for assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, discrimination and breach of the Human Rights Act, as well as complaints and public law challenges.

I am particularly interested in claims with a public order element, and have successfully represented a number of activists arrested at the Dale Farm eviction, the “squat raids” before the Royal Wedding and the student protests of 2010. I am currently assisting in a group action brought by cyclists arising from the Critical Mass bicycle ride during the Olympics opening ceremony in July 2012 as well as claims relating to various other demonstrations.

My caseload also includes a number of claims against the police arising from stop and searches and other contact by police on the streets or in people’s homes, many of which encompass issues of racial discrimination and / or involve vulnerable clients. In addition, I bring challenges to other detaining authorities such as the prison and probation service. This includes a successful judicial review against the refusal of a place in a Mother & Baby Unit for a female remand client as well as claims for assault and unlawful detention. I also practice in personal injury including claims for sexual abuse / assault against local authorities and religious institutions.

I have been shortlisted for two national awards – the “Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year: Newcomer” in the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards in May 2013, and “Junior Lawyer of the Year” in the Law Society Excellence Awards in August 2015.  I am an executive committee member of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights and a trustee for Stop & Search Legal Project. In addition, I am involved with a number of other organisations including Police Action Lawyers Group, Defend the Right to Protest and the Law Society International Action Team.  

Education

  • LPC, College of Law – 2007-2008 (Distinction)
  • Graduate Diploma Law, BPP Leeds 2006-2007 (Distinction)
  • BA Hons Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge 2002-2005 (1st)

Career

  • Promoted to Associate, May 2015
  • Certificate in International Human Rights Law & Practice, LSE, 2013 (non-examined)
  • Civil Liberties Solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP (September 2011)
  • Solicitor specialising in actions against the police and public authorities at GT Stewart Solicitors (2010 – 2011)
  • Trained at Hodge Jones & Allen (2008-2010)

Client comments

  • “I was introduced to the most brilliant solicitor, I felt that she treated with kindness, passion and respect as thought as I was her own “MUM”. I am so proud knowing her. Keep up the good work Natalie S. You are a star.”
  • “…From the initial meeting to date Natalie has been completely professional with a personable approach. Listening to me and hearing what I wished to achieve by pursuing the case against the police. Advising myself which would be the more achievable goals and lines to follow, but never pushing myself in a direction I didn’t wish to go. How refreshing!…. With Natalie you can trust that your best interests and that of the collectives wider goals are in safe hands…”
  • “I am grateful for her non-judgemental support, understanding and friendly approach. Natalie is clearly very committed to issues of social justice and is an ally to those who she represents.”
  • “I feel really confident about the progress of my case and I know that it’s in safe hands. After being mistreated by the police it’s good to know that someone has got my back!”

Notable Cases

  • R (on the application of WB) (2) W (A CHILD BY HIS LITIGATION FRIEND THE OFFICIAL SOLICITOR) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE (2014) – [2014] EWHC 1696 (Admin) – represented the First Claimant, WB, a female remand prisoner, in a successful judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse her a place in the Mother & Baby Unit with her newborn son W. An associated damages claim resulted in a settlement of £8,000 for our client.
  • Ellen Yianni v Chief Constable of Essex Police – while taking part in the protest against the Dale Farm eviction, the claimant was arrested for failure to remove a facial covering after wearing a scarf due to the cold and to protect herself. She was charged and released with bail conditions that prevented her from entering Essex, except for court appearances and her personal details were posted on Essex police’s website prior to her first hearing, resulting in threats and abuse via twitter. The charges against her were dismissed in January 2012 on the basis that the arresting officer did not reasonably believe she was using the scarf to hide her identity. Following a claim brought on her behalf for false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, breach of the Human Rights Act and breach of the Data Protection Act, Essex Police paid her £15,000.00 in compensation.
  • Lu Smith v Chief Constable of Essex Police – Successful challenge to the length and conditions of detention of an arrested at the Dale Farm evictions (one of several cases brought by Natalie and Sasha Barton, also of the HJA Civil Liberties Team).
  • AJ and CS v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – successful claims on behalf of individuals who were arrested in the “squat raids” prior to the Royal Wedding in 2011.
  • NF v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – NF was present at her boyfriend’s house when police entered to search for goods stolen in the riots (no charges were ever brought). Officers kicked the door in despite her offering to open it, and on entering the house immediately punched her in the face. NF showed police documents proving she had been away on holiday during the riots but was nonetheless arrested, with officers accusing her of having stolen goods in an extremely insulting and derogatory manner. NF was released without charge on bail, but her bail conditions presented her attending Notting Hill Carnival – an important family event that she had never missed before. A claim for assault, false imprisonment, misfeasance in public office and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, settled for a 5-figure sum in December 2013.

Membership & Appointments

  • Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights – Executive Committee
  • Police Action Lawyers’ Group
  • Young Legal Aid Lawyers
  • Stop and Search Legal Project
  • Network for Police Monitoring Laywers’ Group
  • Haldane Society
  • Liberty